The Most Important Truth I’ve Learned About Service…

samaritanThere are these moments, every once in awhile, when I catch wind of some kind of tragedy in our community or within my circle of friends/family. Someone, somewhere, finds out they have a disease, someone passes away, someone loses a job or a home, someone loses a friendship or a relationship or a marriage. Normal people (a group to which I may or may not have membership) typically feel a desire to help and I am the same. I’ll immediately start wondering if there is anything I can do. Those thoughts usually lead to me wondering if I should go to their home or call them or email them (depending on the circumstances). I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I wonder if I should make some kind of contact.

This is usually where the problem begins. I’ll imagine myself going over to the home and quickly realizing that I have almost nothing to give or no way to help. Vary rarely have I procured a job for someone, healed a marriage, cured an illness, and I’ve never brought someone back from the dead. I almost never even say a helpful sentence. I’m just not the person who usually has the answer. So, the thought of visiting or calling becomes overwhelming or daunting as I think of my inability to actually solve any problems.

Some months ago I was watching a video about President Thomas S. Monson. The video told the story of many visits he had made to hospitals, care centers, homes, etc., to be with people who were sick or dying or in some kind of trouble like that. While watching, I started to feel bad about my hesitancy to do what he does. The real guilt isn’t that I don’t go and make these visits, because I’ve actually made a bunch of them. The guilt was stemming from the fact that I almost always hesitate, and typically wonder what good I’ll do, and then I really don’t solve many of the problems people are facing.

Then, in the middle of this video, I noticed something. Kind of a pattern. Many of the people President Monson visited, well, died.

There’s no way to keep track of stuff like this, and there are endless stories of President Monson’s assistance actually solving a problem. But there are many stories of President Monson showing up at the hospital, visiting with, laughing with, praying with, and then blessing the friend…only to have that person reach the end of their life a few days later. And, actually, it was fine. And I sat there pondering why it was fine. Why was he even impressed to go and visit when this person was apparently appointed to die, visit or no visit?

Here is the answer that came to me. I’ve edited the spelling, grammar and punctuation (because it is written on the iPhone), but I’ve left the meaning and intent as much as possible:

“Why go and visit in these situations? Because people shouldn’t struggle or suffer alone. Regardless of how the story ends, at least it won’t involve the person being alone in their moments of grief. I may not be able to help or fix a problem, but if possible, the person will know they are not alone. Many of President Monson’s stories end with the people still sick, still old, still dead. But maybe people need to feel love. Maybe they need to feel my love. Maybe that helps them feel the Savior’s love. And maybe that is all that is required…” (my iPhone)

I better appreciate a few lines of scripture that you may be familiar with:

“…mourn with those that mourn…” (Mosiah 18:9)

or

“…comfort those that stand in need of comfort…” (Mosiah 18:9)

or

“I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” (Matthew 25:36)

The point is, go. Call. Email. Text. Write. Visit.

Be Encouraging,

BJM

These views are personal, and are not the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...
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